Petition launched over hospital plans

Members of the Morecambe and Lunesdale Labour Party with their petition against the possible closure of A and E at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Members of the Morecambe and Lunesdale Labour Party with their petition against the possible closure of A and E at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

A campaign has been launched to protect the A&E department and other services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Labour Party members from Morecambe and Lancaster launched the campaign on Saturday with stalls in Market Square, Lancaster, and at the Arndale Centre in Morecambe.

They also canvassed local residents by knocking on doors and already nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition opposing any reduction in services.

More than 600 people have also signed an e-petition on a Government website.

The campaign comes after the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust announced a review of hospital services.

It is believed that options to be looked at include downgrading the A&E at Lancaster to a GP-run minor injuries unit and sending emergency patients to Kendal or Preston.

The intensive care unit at the RLI could also close, while other options thought to be under consideration include downgrading the maternity unit to a midwife led service and reducing the number of surgical procedures carried out on site.

The review comes as the Government forces the trust to find nearly £13m in annual savings.

In a joint statement, Margaret Pattison and Darren Clifford, Labour’s respective Lancashire County Council candidates for the Heysham and Morecambe South seats, said: “The loss of vital services from Lancaster like A&E and a maternity unit is unthinkable. It would put the health of people throughout the Lancaster district at risk and have a huge knock-on impact on the ambulance service.

“Judging by residents’ reaction to our campaign they are just as angry as we are at the possibility of losing these services and I would therefore urge them to join us in fighting any such proposals tooth and nail.

“They can do so by signing one of the paper petitions or the online petition launched by our members, and by writing to the trust when it consults on its plans in the coming months.

“The Labour Party is completely opposed to these cuts and will give priority to campaigning against them.”

You can sign the online petition on the Government website at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44891.